by Matt Soltysiak
Whether you think Jay Cutler forced his way out or you believe Denver pushed him out doesn’t really matter. What matters is how this move impacts fantasy football for the fall of 2009. Both teams face about the same talent in divisional foes, so that’s a wash. Here’s the rest of the laundry.
Jay Cutler’s stock drops automatically. In Denver he had Brandon Marshall and rookie standout Eddie Royal. Now he’s throwing to the likes of Brandon Lloyd, Rasheed Davis and Devin Hester. Don’t go jumping on the Hester bandwagon either. He’s not that good at being a WR, plus the team may limit his touches as it appeared to hurt the return game last year (no TDs). TE Greg Olson failed to assert himself as the starter last year and splits times with Desmond Clark.
Plus you have to look and see that Denver had a bad defense and a bad running game last year, so Cutler had to throw more than usual. In Chicago they’ll run the ball more, which some could argue will open things up more for Cutler to throw, but those WRs have to get open and there isn’t a legit #1 on the team. It’s questionable if they even have a #2 WR.
When it comes to Chicago, Cutler’s stock drops, the Bear’s WRs remain about the same and whoever gets the #1 designation is worth taking a flyer on later. The one person this could help is Matt Forte. If teams can’t throw 8 in the box simply because Cutler can throw it deep, Forte may find more running room.
Over to the Broncos
The loss of Cutler means Kyle Orton and Chris Simms become the top two candidates at QB (as of right now). Orton threw for 18 TDs with 12 INTs last year, but I still think this immediately drops the stock of Brandon Marshall (who is having hip surgery) and Eddie Royal. Both WRs are still worth drafting for sure and Marshall could still put up good numbers, but it’s not going to be nearly as good as last year unless the running game gets going.
That could be a difference maker for the Broncos. Bringing in Lamont Jordan, JJ Arrington and Correll Buckhalter gives Denver a few more options at the tailback position that they didn’t have last year (Peyton Hillis, 343 yards) . However, Mike Shanahan isn’t there to scheme the running. If two of these guys can combine for consistent production it would make things easier for Orton (or Simms).
For Denver, Kyle Orton’s stock goes up (if he is named the starter) because of better WRs, the Broncos WRs stock drops and the running game will probably have to work harder to produce with Cutler gone and a new head coach calling the shots.